Agenda and minutes

Council
Thursday, 7th March, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Rushcliffe Borough Council

Contact: Laura Webb  0115 9148481

Items
No. Item

40.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

The Chief executive declared an interest in item 15 on behalf of himself and his management team who would all leave the room when that item was considered.

 

41.

Minutes of the meeting Thursday 6 December 2018 pdf icon PDF 297 KB

To receive as a correct record the minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on Thursday 6 December 2018.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 6 December 2018 were considered by the Council. Councillor Jones requested an amendment to minute number 38 to include the following statement as read out at the meeting:

 

“That restructuring is wasteful of resources and expertise economies of scale and shared benefits is best obtained by cooperation.  Already this Council has several such arrangements with adjacent local authorities for specific services.  Cross district officer meetings provide important learning and sharing of ideas. I believe that accountability of public services should not become more remote: local democracy should not be diluted or diminished”.

 

Following agreement to the amendment, the minutes from the meeting held on Thursday 6 December 2018 were received as a correct record and signed by the Mayor.

 

42.

Mayor's Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor reported a quieter start to 2019 than the last quarter of 2018. She made particular note of the Sutton Bonington presentation evening, the service attended for National Holocaust Memorial Day, and her Civic Dinner, which this year focused upon upskilling future generations. 

 

As this was the final Council meeting of the civic year, she thanked the Council for allowing her to preside as Mayor again and went on to mention that with the upcoming Borough Council elections in May some Councillors had already made their intention not to return clear. The Mayor particularly wanted to recognise her long standing friendship and rivalry at the ballot box with fellow Bingham Councillor, George Davidson; the witty repartee of Councillor Alistair MacInnes in Council meetings; and her mentor, and role model, Councillor Mrs Marie Males, whose 40 years of service to the Borough she was in awe of.

 

To conclude, the Mayor wished all Councillors well in whatever ventures awaited them in the future.

 

43.

Leader's Announcements

Minutes:

The Leader informed Council that he had recently attended the first meeting of the Development Corporation Board which would be instrumental in shaping the future of the west of the Borough following the future closure of the power station in Ratcliffe-on-Soar. He reported that the Council had successfully acquired a significant property on an established business park in Castle Donington which would draw around £60k to the authority each year. Councillor Robinson informed the Council that he and the Chief Executive had been delighted to recently visit the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) at Stanford Hall where they were given a tour of the £300m world-class facilities. He also reported on the success of the first year of the Council’s tree planting scheme and expressed a desire to complement this scheme with other environmental projects in future years.

 

The Leader also recognised that this was the final Council of the year and announced that a reception would be held after the first Council of the new term to celebrate the contribution of all councillors. He thanked all councillors not intending to return after the election for their incredible service to the local community and made special mention of Councillor MacInnes, leader of the Labour party, and Councillor Davidson, who was sadly too unwell to attend his last meeting.

44.

Chief Executive's Announcements

Minutes:

The Chief Executive wished all councillors the very best in the upcoming elections. He reassured them that staff were willing and ready to ensure the election runs smoothly. He recognised those not standing again and thanked them for playing a vital role in upholding local democracy.

 

Mr Graham then presented the Mayor with a limited edition book published to commemorate the opening of the DMRC last year.

 

 

45.

Citizens' Questions

To answer questions submitted by Citizens on the Council or its services.

Minutes:

There were no questions from Citizens’ to answer at this meeting.

46.

Budget and Financial Strategy 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 244 KB

The report of the Executive Manager – Finance and Corporate Services is attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader presented the report of the Executive Manager – Finance and Corporate Services that outlined the Council’s Budget for 2019/20. Councillor Robinson thanked both the officers and councillors for yet another excellent year, especially considering the backdrop of significant central budget cuts. He reported that he was proud to say that the Council was now financially self-sufficient having risen to financial challenges in 2018 to grow a sustainable vision for the future.  The Leader reflected back on the projects delivered in the last twelve months including the Tour of Britain, the tree-planting scheme, activities to reduce single-use plastics, the ban on helium balloons and Chinese lanterns, the ongoing Cotgrave developments, Rushcliffe Arena and the wider Investment Strategy, all recognised by both the MJ and LGC in their 2018 awards ceremonies.

 

 

Councillor Robinson informed Council that £47m was committed in the Budget for forward looking developments such as a new leisure centre and office facility in Bingham, a crematorium to serve the whole Borough, and significant housing and employment growth especially in Fairham Pastures. He was very pleased to report that the Abbey Road site would soon become available for development. The Leader warned Council that to achieve this level of growth in the timescale desired, some borrowing may be necessary, but assured Council that this would be prudent as well as balancing risk and reward.

 

Councillor Robinson payed particular tribute to the Council’s Planning and Growth team. Rushcliffe has delivered 2,600 new homes in the last 7 years, more than any other district in Nottinghamshire. He added that Rushcliffe had also delivered more affordable homes than any other district in Nottinghamshire. Councillor Robinson also made reference to the new Empty Homes Strategy approved by the Cabinet recently which will assist owners of unused homes to bring them back on to the market as well as charging 300% Council Tax for those that remain vacant.

 

To summarise, the Leader outlined the key indicators of financial stability and urged his fellow councillors to support the Budget as presented. Councillor Moore seconded this recommendation and reserved the right to speak.

 

Councillor MacInnes informed Council that the Labour Group had serious concerns about the sustainability of the budget as setout in the report. The significant increase in the capital programme will cause financial problems in the future if not managed properly and the Group did not understand how it was considered prudent to invest such large sums, especially if that included borrowing, in projects such as the building of a crematorium when so much uncertainty remained including Brexit, the Fair Funding review, uncertainties over the future of the new Homes Bonus and Business Rates Retention, the future of the power station in the Borough, and central government plans to overhaul the waste strategy. Councillor MacInnes also reported that he felt there was no mention of affordable housing in the budget and so welcomed the leader’s update about the Abbey Road site.

 

Councillor R Mallender thanked officers for the time they had spent  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.

47.

Council Tax for 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 227 KB

The report of the Executive Manager – Finance and Corporate Services is attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Finance presented the report of the Executive Manager – Finance and Corporate Services that set out the statutory Council Tax Resolution for 2019/20. It was noted that the resolution was a statutory requirement for billing authorities to approve prior to the billing and collection of Council Tax for the forthcoming financial year. Councillor Moore informed Council that Council Tax for a Band D property in Rushcliffe had been set for £137.79 for the coming year, the lowest Council Tax in Nottinghamshire and one of the lowest in the East Midlands.

 

The resolution consolidated the precepts of Nottinghamshire County Council, Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Nottinghamshire Fire Authority, Rushcliffe Borough Council and individual Town and Parish Councils. The recommendations were seconded by Councillor Edyvean.

 

It was RESOLVED that it be noted that the Council calculated the following amounts for the year 2019/20 in accordance with the Local Government Finance Act 1992 as amended (the “Act”);

 

a) Rushcliffe Borough Council’s Council Tax Base for 2019/20 has been calculated as 43,178.5 [Item T in the formula in Section 31B of the Local Government finance Act 1992 as amended by Section 74 of the Localism Act 2011 (the “Act”)]

 

b) For dwellings in those parts of the Borough to which a Parish Precept relates as detailed in Appendix Ai

 

c) The Council Tax requirement for the Council’s own purposes for 2019/20 (excluding Parish Precepts) is £5,949,566

 

d) That the following amounts be now calculated by the Council for the year 2019/20 in accordance with Sections 31 to 36 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 as amended by Section 74 of the Localism Act 2011

 

i. £36,682,812 being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31 A (2)(a) to (f) of the Act taking into account all precepts issued to it by Parish Councils. (Gross expenditure, parish and special expenses, any contingencies, any provisions for reserves)

 

ii. £27,870,800 being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section (A) (3) (a) to (d) of the Act. (Gross income, any use of reserves)

 

iii. £8,812,012 being the amount by which the aggregate at (d)(i) above exceeds the aggregate of (d) (ii) above, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section31A (4) of the Act, as its Council Tax Requirement. [Item R in the formula in Section 31B of the Act] (Expenditure less income)

 

iv. £204.08 being the amount at (d) (iii) above [Item R], all divided by Item T (a) above, calculated by the Council, in accordance with Section 31B (1) of the Act, as the basic amount of its council tax for the year (including parish precepts and special expenses)

 

v. £2,862,412 being the aggregate amount of the Parish Precepts and Special Expenses referred to in Section 34 (3) of the Act. (Total amount of parish precepts as per Appendix Ai)

 

vi. £137.79 being the amount at (d) (iii) above less  ...  view the full minutes text for item 47.

48.

Independent Review of Councillors' Allowances pdf icon PDF 718 KB

The report of the Chief Executive is attached.

Minutes:

Councillor Robinson introduced the report of the Chief Executive and highlighted that the Council was required by law to independently review the Members’ Allowance Scheme at regular intervals. He outlined the approach of the independent members of the Panel and welcomed the interesting benchmarking material contained in the appendices of the report. He believed that the Panel had taken consideration of the views expressed by individual councillors, and the background information provided, to reach a balanced view with regard to the Members’ Allowances Scheme. Councillor Mason seconded the proposal.

 

Councillor Plant considered the review to have been a thorough examination and, stated that whilst it is clear that individuals do not become local councillors for the money, it is imperative that the scheme of allowances does not deter potential candidates. She felt this had been achieved. Councillor S Mallender was also pleased to see that the allowances had not been reduced as she felt this would detrimentally affect people on low incomes becoming councillors. Councillor Jones considered the recommendations to present a fair and balanced allowances scheme.

 

It was RESOLVED that:

 

a)    the Panel’s report be noted and all of the Panel’s recommendations be adopted

 

b)    b) the Scrutiny SRAs proposed in paragraph 4.6 of this report for the year 2019/20 be included in the 2019/20 Member Allowances Scheme.

 

49.

Scrutiny Review pdf icon PDF 203 KB

The report of the Chief Executive is attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Robinson informed Council that the review of scrutiny had been requested by the Cabinet as they felt that the current structure was out of date and did not reflect the current aspirations of the Council. Independent assistance had been secured from the Centre for Public Scrutiny who had observed meetings, interviewed councillors and analysed data to provide insight. He drew Council’s attention to the best practice recommendations in the report and highlighted the desired model of scrutiny as well as the transitional model proposed for introduction following Annual Council in May 2019.

 

Councillor Beardsall seconded the report and reminded councillors that due to its ambitious programme of development the Council needed to ensure that decisions were being properly scrutinised over the coming years. He agreed with the stepped change approach allowing time to train both new and returning councillors following the election in May and urged Council to ensure that current actions emerging from existing scrutiny arrangements were not lost in the transition.

 

Councillor Chewings welcomed the review and recognised the hard work of officers and partners involved in scrutiny but reflected that some aspects of scrutiny could be better. She looked forward to being able to shape the new structure alongside a refreshed Council after May. Councillor Jones expressed concern about the best practice recommendation relating to daytime meetings as he felt this would make it difficult for councillors who worked to attend. Councillor Walker expressed similar concerns as prospective councillors had been recruited on their ability to combine a potential position as a councillor with a normal job. Councillor Mallender felt that the transitional model provided new councillors room to grow and shape part of the Council once they had received their training. He also noted the open participation in the process and the follow-up workshops from all councillors.

 

 

Councillor Lawrence reflected back on the introduction of scrutiny and his many years as vice chairman of a scrutiny committee. He advised that one overview group may find themselves with a very challenging agenda during the first year of operation.

 

It was RESOLVED that:

 

a)    the CfPS Review of Scrutiny report be noted

 

b)    the current scrutiny structure is disbanded at the end of the municipal year

 

c)    the creation of the transitional model of scrutiny including the Corporate Overview Group and three themed scrutiny groups of growth, communities and governance be agreed and operational from 1 June 2019

 

d)    the size and proportionality of the new scrutiny groups as outlined in paragraphs 4.13 and 4.16 is agreed

 

e)    the Chief Executive explores options for independent support during the transitional period as outlined in paragraph 4.18

 

f)     the Chief Executive to bring forward Terms of Reference for all scrutiny groups to Annual Council to allow nomination to groups to be made.

 

50.

Notices of Motion

To receive Notices of Motion submitted under Standing Order No.12

 

In the light of the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, declaring a climate emergency, Rushcliffe Borough Council will evaluate the implications of the report and review its 2010 Carbon Management Plan. The review should be undertaken by a relevant scrutiny group, and their findings shall be considered by the Cabinet by no later than March 2020. This Council calls upon the designated scrutiny group to consider the Council setting a carbon neutral target to be achieved by 2030. The commitment to review and implement a refreshed target should also be integrated into the Council's commitment and leadership to parish councils, business and strategic partners, to deliver widespread carbon reductions across the borough. Rushcliffe Borough Council will continue to call on the Government to provide the necessary powers and resources to make local action on climate change easier.

 

Councillor S Mallender

 

Minutes:

a. The following Notice of Motion was proposed by Councillor S Mallender

and seconded by Councillor R Mallender.

 

“In the light of the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, declaring a climate emergency, Rushcliffe Borough Council will evaluate the implications of the report and review its 2010 Carbon Management Plan. The review should be undertaken by a relevant scrutiny group, and their findings shall be considered by the Cabinet by no later than March 2020. This Council calls upon the designated scrutiny group to consider the Council setting a carbon neutral target to be achieved by 2030. The commitment to review and implement a refreshed target should also be integrated into the Council's commitment and leadership to parish councils, business and strategic partners, to deliver widespread carbon reductions across the borough. Rushcliffe Borough Council will continue to call on the Government to provide the necessary powers and resources to make local action on climate change easier.

 

In presenting the motion, Councillor S Mallender outlined the impact of climate change as highlighted in the IPCC report and the consequences of not taking any action locally. These include increased risk of flash floods damaging crops, property and infrastructure as well as crop failure and damage to human health as a result of extreme and prolonged heat. She called upon Council to support the motion to update the Carbon Management Plan and consider setting a carbon neutral target.

 

Councillor Robinson stated that his Group would be proud to support the motion and that climate change was a global concern in which Rushcliffe was keen to play a part. Councillor Butler reminded Council of the environmental projects undertaken in the last twelve months and the Council’s involvement in Agenda 21 before the turn of the century. Councillor Edwards made reference to the Council’s strapline and in particular to the part that the environment plays in ensuring residents achieve a great lifestyle. Councillor Jones focused upon the need to revise building control measures to encourage developers to create carbon neutral homes.

On being put to the vote the Motion was carried.

 

51.

Questions from Councillors

To answer questions submitted by Councillors under Standing Order No. 11(2)

Minutes:

a)   Question from Councillor Jones to Councillor Robinson

 

“Given the Conservative Government’s undertaking to take 20,000 Syrian refugee adults and children from the camps by the end of 2019 and Rushcliffe Council pledged to take only 41 based proportionately on population despite being a relatively wealthy area – what numbers will the Council take by the end of this year?”

 

Councillor Robinson responded that Rushcliffe Borough Council has to date accepted 27 individuals in seven families since June 2016 under the UK’s resettlement schemes, including the County’s first contribution to the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme.  This is well on the way to our commitment number of 41.

 

Supplementary question

 

Councillor Jones asked the Leader to commit to meeting the target by the end of the year.

 

Councillor Robinson replied that the Council would continue to work with partners working towards the targets set.

 

b)   Question from Councillor Jones to Councillor Mason

 

“What action will the Cabinet Member for Environmental Health take to dissuade food outlets in Rushcliffe, large and small to seriously reduce their use of single-use plastic?”

 

Councillor Mason responded that the Council has no statutory powers to formally require food businesses to reduce single use plastics. However, building upon our own initiative, we look forward to responding to the Government’s consultation scheduled for later in the year.

 

c)   Question from Councillor Jones to Councillor Mason

 

“Given the national increase in hate crime what action will the Council take on its own or with partners to monitor and report to Councillors on the experiences of religious and other minority groups in our community?”

 

Councillor Mason responded that in contrast to the national picture the latest data for January 2019 shows a 20.3% reduction in reported hate crimes in Rushcliffe.

 

Supplementary question

 

Councillor Jones asked if there would be regular reports to councillors to keep them informed.

 

Councillor Mason replied that the Council will continue to refer any reported hate crimes to the Police and will work to support investigations as part of our strong community safety partnership working.

 

d)   Question from Councillor Sue Mallender to Councillor Edyvean

 

“Given that some councils have assigned their emergency planning officers to deal with the possible impacts on residents and businesses arising from uncertainty over when, if or how the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, what plans does the Rushcliffe borough have in place to manage this?”

 

Councillor Edyvean responded that the Chief Executive and his management team have been working closely with the Nottinghamshire Local Resilience Forum, Nottinghamshire County Council, other districts and key government departments regarding any impacts of Brexit locally.

 

Supplementary question

 

Councillor Mallender asked is there was a role for individual councillors as community leaders.

 

Councillor Edyvean replied that it was up to individual councillors to get involved in the various local forums and community events.

 

e)   Question from Councillor Sue Mallender to Councillor Upton

 

“In order to further Rushcliffe Borough Council's commitment to the reduction of single use plastics, and in particular to help reduce the demand  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.

52.

Exclusion of the Public

It is RECOMMENDED that the public be excluded from the meeting for consideration of the following item of business pursuant to section 100A (4) of the above Act on the grounds that exempt information may be disclosed as defined in paragraph 1 of part 1 of schedule 12A of the Act (as amended).

Minutes:

It was RESOLVED that under section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that exempt information may be disclosed as defined in paragraph 1 of part 1 of schedule 12A of the Act (as amended).

 

53.

Staffing Matter

The report of the Leader of the Council will be tabled at the meeting.

Minutes:

Council considered the report of the Leader regarding the early retirement of the Chief Executive.

 

It was RESOLVED that:

 

a)    the early retirement of the Chief Executive (and Head of Paid Service) in the interests of the efficient exercise of the Authority's functions with effect from 30 June 2019 and the costs associated with this be approved

 

b)    the appointment of an interim Chief Executive (and Head of Paid Service) from 1 July 2019 until 30 May 2020, with the current Executive Manager for Operations and Transformation taking up this role be approved

 

c)    that any other interim arrangements in relation to supporting the interim Chief Executive (and Head of Paid Service) be reported through the Council’s normal budget monitoring arrangements to Cabinet.